viernes, 2 de diciembre de 2016
THE DECISION OF DENMARK TO WITHDRAW FROM AIRSTRIKES ON SYRIA AND IRAQ
article of July 28, 2016, published bay Middle East Monitor and entitled "Experts unite to say that it is an ‘abuse’ to invoke ‘self-defence’ in response to terrorism"
The decision of Denmark to withdraw from airstrikes on Syria and Iraq
Abstracts: Denmark has announced last Friday 2 its decision to suspend military operations of its seven F-16 fighter jets in Syria and Iraq. At the beginning of the very same week, a military investigation indicated that Danish fighter jets were involved in a September 17 airstrike of the coalition, where a series of "unintentional human errors" killed fighters aligned with the Syrian government instead of the targeted Islamic State (ISIS) militants. After Canada (February 2016), Denmark is the second member of the so called "coalition against ISIS" withdrawing its participation in airstrikes on Syria and Iraq, whose legal basis is not as solid as argued by France, United Kingdom and United States. It must be recalled that since August 2014, the so called "coalition against Islamic State (ISIS)" led by US has decided to bomb Iraq and Syria territories. In the case of Syria, without the consent of Syrian authorities: this last point is a controversial issue, from international legal perspective as well as from the angle of United Nations Security Council´s practice.
Last Friday December 2th, Denmark has announced officially that it will suspend its participation in airstrikes on Syria and Iraq. This note of Altinget entitled "Danmark trækker kampfly ud af Irak og Syrien" gives some precisions. In this press note of The Local, we read that Danish Foreign Ministry Anders Samuelsen stated that "We have decided to withdraw the Danish fighter jets as planned". The official statement in Danish indicates that: "Medio december returnerer de danske kampfly og det danske transportfly som planlagt til Danmark. Efter hjemtagelsen af de to flyvende bidrag vil Danmark fortsat levere en markant militær indsats til støtte for kampen mod ISIL" (see full text of the official statement in Danish reproduced at the very end of this note). It must be noted that no reference is made in this official statement of last December 2th to past missions to which Danish aircrafts participated.
A simple coincidence or a decision taken after the publication of investigations ?
A few days before, press releases dated November 30 informed that top officials from United States recognised after military investigations some errors during a mission held on September 17th: an internal memorandum dated November 29 with a report with the mention "approved for release" of CENTCOM (US Central Command) dated November 2nd is available here. As predictable with CENTCOM reports and internal memoranda on military operations, no all the text can be read. In a note of The Local (Denmark) related to this report, it is written that the reaction of Danish authorities were the following: "Defence Command Denmark, the command centre for the Danish armed forces, released a short statement following the attack that confirmed that Danish fighter jets were part of the mission. The Danish forces said it was "of course unfortunate if the coalition mistakenly struck anything other than ISIL forces".
The results of the investigation on this particular mission in Syria last September 17th are the following, according to this note of September 19, 2016 published by Military.com:
"British, Danish and Australian warplanes took part in the U.S.-led coalition's airstrike Saturday that reportedly killed more than 60 Syrian government troops and threatened to unravel the "cessation of hostilities," military officials said Monday. The Syrian army and a key rebel leader declared that the cease-fire had collapsed and blamed each other for violations, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was working for a possible extension of the seven-day-old cessation period that ended Monday".
On the same day of November 30, a note published in Australia entitled "Syria campaign: Lessons from botched air strikes revealed in US review"stated that: "The United States-led review into the air strike released early Wednesday morning highlights two key points about the international coalition air war over Syria: first, that even the best planned military campaign will make mistakes and kill innocents, and second, that the Coalition air campaign has been one of the most tightly controlled in the history of air power. The remarkable thing is that more people haven’t been wrongly killed by Coalition strikes. This constraint on air operations is legally and morally right, but the effect has been to render much of the Syrian air campaign useless. The review makes it clear that a number of factors contributed to inadvertently targeting a position near Dayr az Zawr, on 18 September occupied by Syrian Army or militia forces. For some reason intelligence reporting incorrectly identified the position as occupied by so-called Islamic State fighters".
In this very same article we can also read that:
"The review finds that some overlooked intelligence reporting cast doubt on whether the position was IS controlled. There seems also to be been confusion over map coordinates between digital and paper maps. After the air strikes began a Russian officer called the coalition’s Combined Air Operations Centre but the requested contact was not present to receive the call. A second Russian call was made, some 27 minutes later, presumably after the strikes had destroyed their target. If that sounds messy, it is".
EU Members involved in airstrikes operations against ISIS in Syria
As well known, Denmark and Belgium, as well as France, The Netherlands and United Kingdom are the only European countries engaged in airstrikes operations in Syria and Iraq of the so called "coalition against ISIS". Concerning specifically missions on Syria, it must be noted that:
- Danish first airstrikes in Syria took place last August 5, 2016 (see note);
- in the case of Australia, its first airstrikes were launched on September 16, 2015 (see BBC note);
- in the case of France, the first bombs dropped on Syrian territory from French aircrafts exploded on September 27, 2015 (see note of The Guardian), 24 hours before the planned speech of President Hollande at the United Nations in New York. On this interesting coincidence that seems to do with a political "mise en scene" of French President, we have had the opportunity to indicate that:
"En ce qui concerne les frappes de la France en Syrie, les premières bombes françaises ont été lancées par ses avions il y a exactement deux mois, le dimanche 27 septembre 2015. Peu d’informations ont été apportées par les autorités françaises concernant le choix et l’opportunité de cette date pour procéder à ces premiers bombardements en Syrie. Coïncidence (heureuse ou malheureuse), dans son allocution prononcée devant l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies 24 heures plus tard, le chef de l’État a simplement mentionné que « La France /…/entend prendre ses responsabilités. Elle les a prises, encore récemment, y compris par une action armée, une action de force » (see our article published in Voltairenet of December 1st, 2015).
Almost one year after, in his last speech at the UN General Assembly, French President reiterated his strong opposition to current authorities of Syria (see note of Le Monde of September 22, 2016).
- concerning United Kingdom, on December 3rd, 2015, the first UK ´s airstrikes took place in Syria.
- concerning Belgium, the exact date of its first airstrikes in Syria is unknown: Belgium is one the most discrete member of the coalition concerning its military missions on Syria.
Coming back to the Danish decision itself, it is the first time that a European country decides to suspend its engagement in this kind of military operations. However, it is no the first time that airstrikes in Syria and Iraq are suspended by a State: last February 22, 2016 Canada officially suspended all operations consisting in bombing targets in Iraq and Syria, ending a controversial action inherited from Prime Minister Harper administration (see press note).
The international context: Aleppo final battle and France´s last efforts at UN Security Council
As well known, Aleppo (حلب or "Halab" in Arabic, Βέροια (Beroia) during Antiquity) is the second largest city in Syria and the country's industrial and financial center. It is also "one of world's oldest continually inhabited cities, mentioned in Egyptian texts from the 20th Century BC" as indicated in this BBC note of November 2016. Since 2012, Aleppo is a battleground.
article entitled "Pictures of splendors past: Aleppo before the war"
For some observers and analysts, the arrival of Russian warships at Syrian coasts at the middle of November 2016 announced the final assault on Aleppo. On November 29th, France asked for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the battle in Aleppo to consider humanitarian situation, among other points (see note of Reuters). On December 5th, 2016, a draft resolution on Aleppo battle establishing a seven-days-ceasefire presented by France, United States and United Kingdom has been vetoed by China and Russia. Immediately after the vote, French Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that:
"The UN Security Council failed to adopt a draft resolution aimed at establishing a ceasefire and restoring immediate and unrestricted access to humanitarian assistance due to a new veto by Russia. In the face of an exceptionally serious humanitarian situation in Syria, marked by the tragic situation in Aleppo, France supported this text without any hesitation. I deplore the fact that, as a result of Russian obstruction, the UN Security Council is still not able to assume its responsibilities with respect to the civilian populations in Syria who are facing the destructive folly of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, as well as the terrorist groups, starting with Daesh. France has believed since the start of the Syrian crisis that the only way to put Syria back on the path toward peace and stability is through a political solution. On the contrary, military escalation results in deadlock which only serves to exacerbate the suffering of the people and fuel terrorism" (see official statement).
It must be noted that the Syrian delegate indicated to his colleagues in New York that: "... the United States, France and the United Kingdom were the “three musketeers” defending terrorism, with the support of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, demanding to know where the “three musketeers” had been when so-called moderate armed groups had bombed a Russian Federation field hospital in western Aleppo. Those three Governments should have welcomed Syria’s fight against terrorism now that the threat was present in every corner of the world" (see UN press release).
24 hours after the vote that took place in New York, BBC entitled its note "Aleppo battle: Syria rebels 'withdraw from old city'" (see BBC note) while The Guardian´s note was edited with the following tittle: "Syrian troops in control of Aleppo's Old City after rebels withdraw" (see note). In this note of Telegraph dated December 6th, we read that "the appeal looks likely to be ignored by the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies as they continue to make rapid progress in what may be the final days of the four-year battle for Aleppo". On December 7th, a joint statement on Aleppo situation (see full text) signed by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and United States states that: "We condemn the actions of the Syrian regime and its foreign backers, especially Russia, for their obstruction of humanitarian aid, and strongly condemn the Syrian regime’s attacks that have devastated civilians and medical facilities and use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons". The signatories of this collective text also declared that: "At the same time, Russia is blocking the UN Security Council, which is therefore unable to do its work and put an end to the atrocities. The regime’s refusal to engage in a serious political process also highlights the unwillingness of both Russia and Iran to work for a political solution despite their assurances to the contrary".
On December 8th, Russia announced a provisional suspension of hostilities in order to allow evacuation of civilians in the East of Aleppo (see note of Le Nouvel Obs) while, 24 hours after, on December 9th, French President considered usefull to be personnally onboard of aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in front of Syrian coast (see note of La Croix), recalling some attitudes after 9/11 in United States (Note 1). On December 13th, capitulation of rebels in Aleppo was announced (see note of Le Figaro). On December 21th, last evacuation of rebels and civilians is announced (see note of RFI).
As pointed out by the author of this article published on December 6th in Asia Times, "The fall of Aleppo, therefore, means much more than the fall of just one city; it may trigger significant policy changes and determine the final outcome of the war".
Who are really members of the "coalition against ISIS" ?
It must be recalled that in a report of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons entitled “The extension of offensive British military operations to Syria“, information was provided in order to know which were the States involved in airstrikes in Syria (and in Iraq). At note 22, page 9, we read the following data, that refers to Denmark withdrawn: “Airstrikes in Iraq: US, UK, Australia, Belgium (withdrawn), Canada (expected to withdraw), Denmark (withdrawn), France, Jordan, The Netherlands (9). Airstrikes in Syria: US, Australia, Bahrain, Canada (expected to withdraw), France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE (9). Total of 13 states overall”.
The decision of Denmark to "withdraw" airstrikes in Iraq has been revised after been registered by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons at the end of 2015. On April 20, 2016, we read from US Defense Secretary the following statement:
"Statement from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Denmark's Decision to Expand Role in Counter-ISIL Campaign Press Operations Release No: NR-139-16 April 20, 2016
This week's decision by the Danish Parliament to approve an expanded role in the fight against ISIL is a welcome contribution from a valued partner in the counter-ISIL coalition and another sign of the growing momentum for the campaign to defeat ISIL. Denmark is a steadfast partner in global coalition efforts. Its contributions, including strike aircraft, air defense radar, and training and assistance to Iraqi forces, have already been significant."
Concerning the participation of others members of the so called "coalition against ISIS", on Nov. 30, 2015 The Washington Times informed (see note) that some members of the coalition have stopped flights against ISIS positions: “One Pentagon official directly involved in the counter-Islamic State fight told The Washington Times that the Saudis haven’t flown a mission against the group in nearly three months. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Bahrain is still involved, but confirmed that Jordan stopped flying sorties against the extremists in August and the UAE hasn’t flown one since March”.
Curiously, in its presentation at the “Sénat” in France, on November 25, 2015 French Minister of Foreign Affairs declares publicly that: “Si la France est aux avant-postes du combat, elle ne le mène pas seule. Le combat contre le terrorisme est aussi celui des Nations unies. La France a obtenu le vote de la résolution 2249 à l'ONU, qui appelle à amplifier la lutte contre Daech. Une trentaine d’État sont engagés militairement dans la coalition“. The number 13 is a number of member States quite far from 30. But visually speaking (mainly if you are an urged person acting as a French Minister of Foreign Affairs asking to your Senate a special authorisation) the number 13 is quite close to 31.
Danish involvement in the coalition against ISIS
In the last report of Airwars.org (see report on November 2016 operations) the last mission held by Denmark is dated December 1st, "Update from Danish MoD on December 1st: [For Wednesday November 23rd to Wednesday November 30th, Denmark report 11 missions over the Iraqi province of Nineweh and the Syrian governorate of Ar Raqqah. They dropped eight precision bombs, launching attacks on ISIL roadblocks, buildings and facilities that manufactured improvised explosive devices to vehicles.]"
We read in this report of Airwars of October 2015 that Denmark initially asked not to identify Danish operations in press releases: "Colonel Andersen confirmed that the Danish military had asked CENTCOM not to identify Danish actions in its press releases, though argued that the introduction of the ‘partner nation’ term was a result of “several interests that had to be united” rather than a Danish request exclusively. A FOIA request by Danish reporter Charlotte Aagaard later confirmed the Danish policy of rendering it impossible to identify Denmark’s role in strikes, “neither directly or by through deduction”, specifying that “the Danish contribution should not be mentioned in Coalition press releases if fewer than three nations are mentioned in relation to the activity in question.” Under pressure from Danish media, mission updates were initially expanded in November to include the names of provinces and cities targeted – although dates and locations of attacks were still withheld."
In this other report on The Netherlands transparency on airstrikes, it can be read that Dutch extreme discretion has suffered indiscretions twice: "On only two occasions have the locations and dates of Dutch airstrikes in Iraq been revealed – on neither occasion by the Netherlands itself. Following a strike on Fallujah on July 25th 2015, France later reported it had carried out the mission with Dutch assistance: “Cette mission fut réalisée conjointement avec des avions américains et hollandais.”5 And in September 2015, Airwars in collaboration with RTL Netherlands was able to show that according to a declassified CENTCOM document, Dutch aircraft had been implicated in a possible civilian casualty incident ten months earlier".
In this report or Airwars.org, entitled "Cause For Concern Hundreds of civilian non-combatants credibly reported killed in first year of Coalition airstrikes against Islamic State", we read that, concerning Denmark information on civil casualties in Iraq: "In a written response to questions from parliament’s Defence Committee, thenDefence Minister Nicolai Wammen suggested that in the case of civilian deaths or injuries from Danish strikes, affected family members could seek redress in Denmark’s courts: ‘Compensation lawsuits [in relation to the Danish contribution to the war on ISIL] can be filed at the Danish courts in accordance with The Danish Administration of Justice Act.’ Wammen also confirmed that no agreement had been made between the Danish and Iraqi governments to ensure compensation for civilians killed by Danish air strikes. When asked what options were open to relatives of civilian victims in seeking to clarify whether an attack had been carried out by Denmark, Wammen responded that ‘relatives can contact the Iraqi authorities, a Danish authority or the Coalition.’
Recommendation: That Denmark adopts Canada’s best-practice, reporting regularly on where, when, and with what assets it carries out airstrikes in Iraq.
Danish response: Did not reply to queries from Airwars" (p.30)
Belgium is another State extremely discrete on its airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, maybe the most discrete of the 13 members of the coalition engaged in airstrikes operations on Syria and Iraq (Note 2).
Recently, Amnesty International issued a report entitled "USA must come clean about civilian deaths caused by Coalition air strikes in Syria" calling US and its allies to be much more precise concerning civilian deaths caused by coalition airstrikes in Syria (see AI report dated October 26, 2016). The report states that: "It’s high time the US authorities came clean about the full extent of the civilian damage caused by Coalition attacks in Syria. Independent and impartial investigations must be carried out into any potential violations of international humanitarian law and the findings should be made public".
article: End Abusive Invocation Of 'Self-Defence' In Response To Terror, published in Canada, with the following indication:"Smoke rises after U.S.-led coalition airstrikes hit DAESH positions in Aleppo, Syria"
Lack of information as official information
Lack of transparency of States involved in airstrikes in Syria and Iraq is questionable, and local lawyers, professional associations, journalists and NGO should try to obtain more information from their reluctant States and military authorities. Precise information on airstrikes, chain of command and many other details can allow some of the victims to try to seek justice and to obtain compensation after long years before national courts of the States involved in what are officially called "civilian casualties". Recently we read in a note of Independent that "“Although the Coalition makes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimises the risk of civilian casualties, in some cases casualties are unavoidable. “We regret the unintentional loss of civilian lives resulting from Coalition efforts to defeat Isil [Isis] in Iraq and Syria and express our deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by these strikes“.
On this very particular point, the Kunduz affaire is an extremely interesting case (see BBC note of 2012). In a recent article on a German decision of October 2016 related to the death of civilians in 2009 in Afghanistan, entitled "The Kunduz Affair and the German State Liability Regime – The Federal Court of Justice’s Turn to Anachronism", we read that:
"The death of their relatives was the result of a fatal airstrike ordered by Colonel Klein who was in charge of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kunduz in the northern part of Afghanistan. The PRT was institutionally embedded in the framework of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Whilst Klein was operationally subordinated to the ISAF commander and in the end the NATO Commander-in-Chief he remained within the chain of command of the German Federal Army ultimately being subject to orders of the German Ministry of Defense".
We also read that for the author of this article, national judges are ignoring the European Court of Human Rights ´s jurisprudence (ECtHR):
"In light of the effective control exercised by Germany in Kunduz, the ECHR is applicable to the case at hand and Klein’s order remains attributable to Germany as the sending state due to his effective control of the events in question irrespective of the overall institutional embedding of the deployment of the German army (ISAF/NATO). As Art. 15 of the ECHR purports guarantees of the Convention do not lose their obliging force in the context of armed conflicts, even though a need for systemic integration with the rules of the ius in bello might arise (see only ECtHR, Case of Hassan v. UK, Application no. 29750/09). The Court – which was constitutionally obliged to take a closer look at the normative commands of the Convention – however remained ignorant of a long series of judgments in which the ECtHR asserted by reference to Art. 13 ECHR that states are obliged to install a compensatory mechanism in cases of “arguable claims” with regard to violations of Art. 2, 3 ECHR".
Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq: numbers and statistics to understand how really works the so called "coalition"
It must be noted that, generally speaking, information provided officially by members of the so called "coalition" is not necessarily very clear, and numbers differ from one official source to another one, but data base and reports elaborated by Airwars.org allow to have a better idea of the logic behind airstrikes campaign launched by the so called "coalition against ISIS".
report of Airwars entitled:"First year of Coalition airstrikes helped stall Islamic State – but at a cost"
An updated chart shows that at the date of November 27, 2016,
5673 airstrikes in Syria were launched by US, and 306 by Canada, Australia, France, UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Bahrein and Turkey (see Chart "Cumulative US and allied airstrikes in Syria" available here).
These numbers, poorly reported in media and press releases, show that the "allies" launched 5,4% of the airstrikes in Syria, and United States, 94,6% of airstikes in Syria.
In a recent special report from US Defense Secretary (see text), we read also that: "As of 6:45 a.m. EST Dec. 2, 2016, the U.S. and coalition have conducted a total of 16,592 strikes (10,590 Iraq / 6,002 Syria).
U.S. has conducted 12,876 strikes in Iraq and Syria (7,183 Iraq / 5,693 Syria).
Rest of Coalition has conducted 3,716 strikes in Iraq and Syria (3,407 Iraq / 309 Syria).
The countries that have participated in the strikes include: In Iraq: (1) Australia, (2) Belgium, (3) Canada, (4) Denmark, (5) France, (6) Jordan, (7) The Netherlands, and (8) UK.
In Syria: (1) Australia, (2) Bahrain, (3) Canada, (4) Denmark, (5) France, (6) Jordan, (7) The Netherlands, (8) Saudi Arabia, (9) Turkey (10) UAE and (11) UK.
Between Aug. 8, 2014 and Nov. 28, 2016, U.S. and partner nation aircraft have flown an estimated 127,764 sorties in support of operations in Iraq and Syria".
One year ago: the discussion at British Parliament
One year ago, British Prime Minister appealed to Parliament Members to vote in favor of Royal Air Forces (RAF) airstrikes against Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, in order to “keep the British people safe” from the threat of terrorism. At the opening of a 10-hour Commons debate on December 2, 2015, he said the country had no other choice. In the report presented to the Parliament he stated that: “I believe that the UK should now join Coalition airstrikes against ISIL in Syria” and pointed out that “On 20 November 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously called on Member States to use all necessary measures to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL, and to deny them safe haven in Syria and Iraq”.
We have had the opportunity to clarify some of the very simple (and quite questionable) arguments presented by Primer Minister in our article entitled:"The UK Parliament’s Decision to Bomb Syria is ILLEGAL Arguments based on UN resolution 2249 in Prime Minister´s report on airstrikes in Syria: some clarifications needed".
A few hours after the vote, early on December 3, 2015, first UK ´s airstrikes took place in Syria (see note of France24).
Ambiguity of UN Security Council Resolution 2249 adopted in November 2015
As known, Security Council 2249 (see full text) resolution does not provide any legal basis for airstrikes in Syria. A careful reading of the text shows that Resolution 2249 does not mention Article 42 of the UN Charter, which allows Security Council to authorize States to the use of force, or even Chapter VII generally; nor does use the verb “decide“, used when Security Council adopts a resolution on the use of force.
However, this text has been presented as a solid legal basis for airstrikes in Syria by France and United Kingdom.
In November 2015, two distinguished international lawyers entitled their analysis of Resolution 2249 (see article): “The Constructive Ambiguity of the Security Council’s ISIS Resolution“. For the authors of this article, the legal basis on which military actions can be taken in Syria is totally absent of the text:
“Resolution 2249, on the other hand, is constructed in such a way that it can be used to provide political support for military action, without actually endorsing any particular legal theory on which such action can be based or providing legal authority from the Council itself. The creative ambiguity in this resolution lies not only in the fact that it does not legally endorse military action, while appearing to give Council support to action being taken, but also that it allows for continuing disagreement as to the legality of those actions”.
With respect to the vote that took place on December 2nd 2015 in London, and, in particular to the arguments presented by Prime Minister concerning UNSC Resolution 2249, another distinguished professor of international law at Nottingham wrote in his article entitled “How the Ambiguity of Resolution 2249 Does Its Work” the following conclusion:
“Calling this particular resolution “clear and unambiguous” is, with respect, a real howler. But nonetheless we can see how the ambiguity of the resolution also did its magic in internal UK politics, and not just on the international plane – I very much doubt that without it the Prime Minister could have obtained the necessary majority for the air strikes, or even if he did that majority would have been slim indeed”.
Legal arguments to justify military operations in Syria in 2015 recall discussions that took place a few weeks after 9/11. In an article of November 2015, entitled "Interventions en Syrie : entre légitime défense individuelle, collective et contournement des autorités syriennes" , wer read that "Olivier Corten, Professeur de droit international à l’Université Libre de Belgique, estime qu’elle est la manifestation d’une nouvelle doctrine française d’unilatéralisme qui renvoie aux guerres préventives de l’administration américaine de l’ancien Président Georges W. Bush. Elle s’inscrirait dans la « culture de l’intervention » développée au cours de la décennie de la « guerre contre le terrorisme » des années 2 000, en rupture avec le texte et l’esprit de la Charte des Nations Unies".
A collective call against abusive invocation of self defense to justify airstrikes in Syria and Iraq
Last July 2016, we have had the opportunity to refer to a collective call against the abusive invocation of self-defense in the fight against ISIS, signed by more than 240 international law professors and experts around the world. The text of this global call (available here ) in French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic) considers, among other arguments, that:
« Thus, numerous military interventions have been conducted in the name of self-defence, including against Al Qaeda, ISIS or affiliated groups. While some have downplayed these precedents on account of their exceptional nature, there is a serious risk of self-defence becoming an alibi, used systematically to justify the unilateral launching of military operations around the world. Without opposing the use of force against terrorist groups as a matter of principle — particularly in the current context of the fight against ISIS — we, international law professors and scholars, consider this invocation of self-defence to be problematic. In fact, international law provides for a range of measures to fight terrorism. Priority should be given to these measures before invoking self-defence ».
This collective text concludes that:
"Finally, self-defence should not be invoked before considering and exploring other available options in the fight against terrorism. The international legal order may not be reduced to an interventionist logic similar to that prevailing before the adoption of the United Nations Charter. The purpose of the Charter was to substitute a multilateral system grounded in cooperation and the enhanced role of law and institutions for unilateral military action. It would be tragic if, acting on emotion in the face of terrorism (understandable as this emotion may be), that purpose were lost".
On this global call, we refer to our modest article entitled "Against the abusive invocation of self-defence against terrorism" and to the updated list of signatures collected, available here.
As shown, Danish decision (after Canada´s one), shows the limits of the so called "war against ISIS" declared by some States led by US. The fact that three Permanent Members of UN Security Council are trying to force a UN Charter´interpretation to justify their actions in Syrian case has to be taken into consideration. Despite their influence, the discussion is still open, and for many States, the questionable practice and legal arguments to justify military actions of the "coalition against ISIS" in Syria constitute a dangerous exercise for the basements of international legal order established since 1945. In a recent article published in Belgium, the author analyses the position of the members of the international community on this very specific point. In the abstracts of his detailed article, we read that:
" If we turn to the legal positions expressed by States within the UN since the beginning of 2014, scepticism prevails. The opinio juris both of the intervening States themselves and of the “international community of States as a whole” is characterised by ambiguity. Political pragmatism seems more the order of the day than any clear legal conviction. It must be stressed, however, that, leaving aside the specifics of the Syrian situation, the majority of States have expressed the view that Article 51 of the Charter should not be rewritten or reinterpreted" (p. 32).
The author concludes its demonstration stating that : "On aurait ainsi pu imaginer que la lutte contre l’État islamique, désigné comme une menace exceptionnelle contre la paix et la sécurité internationale, soit menée sous l’égide de l’ONU, et non par le biais de coalitions of the willing composites et incontrôlées. Tel n’a pas été le cas et, après le précédent de la guerre contre le terrorisme menée en marge des Nations Unies depuis 2001, l’internationaliste soucieux du maintien d’un authentique jus contra bellum ne pourra sans doute que le regretter" (p. 68).
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM DENMARK, 2/12/2016
NYHEDER 02.12.16 Regeringen vil fortsat levere et markant bidrag i kampen mod ISIL
Regeringen har i dag på et møde i Udenrigspolitisk Nævn rådført sig med Folketinget om en udvidelse af den danske træningsindsats i Irak med et ingeniør- og konstruktionshold.
”Kampen mod ISIL er en af mine – og regeringens – vigtigste udenrigspolitiske prioriteter. Vi skal bekæmpe ISIL og deres ligesindede militært, økonomisk og på deres fortælling. Og vi skal sikre, at befolkningerne i befriede områder hurtigt hjælpes på fode igen. Jeg er stolt af den indsats Danmark og de udsendte danskere har gjort indtil nu," siger udenrigsminister Anders Samuelsen og fortsætter:
"Jeg er tilfreds med, at der i Udenrigspolitisk Nævn var opbakning til, at Danmark nu tilbyder koalitionen et nyt bidrag, så vi nu samlet kommer op på et træningsbidrag på cirka 150 personer. I dag har vi samtidig orienteret Nævnet om, at regeringen i 2017 fastholder de eksisterende bidrag til koalitionen, men at vi som planlagt trækker flybidraget hjem.”
Forsvarsminister Claus Hjort Frederiksen udtaler: ”Regeringen lægger nu op til at udvide den danske træningsindsats i Irak med et ingeniør- og konstruktionshold, som er en af de efterspurgte kapaciteter. De skal træne irakiske styrker i bl.a. minerydning og hjælpe vores nuværende træningsbidrag. Som planlagt tager vi nu også vores kampfly og transportfly hjem, og jeg vil derfor sige de danske udsendte stor tak for deres vigtige indsats, der har haft stor effekt for koalitionens indsats.”
Medio december returnerer de danske kampfly og det danske transportfly som planlagt til Danmark. Efter hjemtagelsen af de to flyvende bidrag vil Danmark fortsat levere en markant militær indsats til støtte for kampen mod ISIL.
Der er i løbet af det seneste år gjort betydelige fremskridt i kamp mod ISIL, men det er nødvendigt, at koalitionen også i den kommende periode fastholder et markant militært pres på terrororganisation i Irak og Syrien. I takt med udviklingen vil koalitionen løbende tilpasse sin indsats, så den bedst muligt understøtter det overordnede mål med den militære kampagne: At besejre ISIL.
Udvidelsen med et ingeniør- og konstruktionshold skal tjene til, at det danske bidrag får styrket evnen til at uddanne og træne de irakiske sikkerhedsstyrker inden for eksempelvis håndtering af improviserede sprængladninger og feltmæssig ingeniørtjeneste.
Fra januar 2017 vil Danmarks militære bidrag til indsatsen mod ISIL således bestå af et radarbidrag på op til ca. 30 personer, et kapacitetsopbygningsbidrag i Irak på op til ca. 150 soldater, et styrkebidrag omfattende specialoperationsstyrker på op til ca. 60 personer samt op til ca. 20 stabsofficerer tilknyttet koalitionens hovedkvarterer.
Note 1: In an article on strange similitudes between US attitudes after 9/11 and French President "poses" after November 2015 Paris attacks, we have had the opportunity to write that:"La stratégie US dans sa « guerre contre le terrorisme » semble donc avoir de nouveaux adeptes en France, même si ses échecs sont largement connus. Sur ce point précis, le rapprochement n’est pas seulement une simple vue de l’esprit : le premier diplomate étranger à s’être rendu personnellement au palais de l’Élysée suite aux attentats de Paris fut le secrétaire d’État états-unien John Kerry, le 17 novembre ; la première destination à l’étranger du président François Hollande suite aux attentats fut la visite rendue le 24 novembre 2015 à son homologue à Washington"
Note 2: Concerning Belgium and available information on its airstrikes in Syria, a report of Airwars of October 2016 on the crisis originated by Russia with Belgium, states that: "Le démenti belge des allégations est compliqué par les mauvais résultats de la Belgique du point de vue transparence : le pays est l’un des moins transparents des 13 membres de la Coalition. Au cours des deux dernières années, la Belgique n’a publié ni les dates, ni les lieux de l’une de ses frappes aériennes en Irak ou en Syrie. Les informations de cette semaine ont seulement été dévoilées dans le contexte de « l’accusation par la Russie », a dit Laurence Mortier".
To look further into: selection of some articles and notes analysing the alleged legality of airstrikes in Syria an the "soi disant" legal authorisation given by Security Council in its Resolution 2249 of November 2015.
AKANDE Dapo & MILANOVIC Marko, "The Constructive Ambiguity of the Security Council’s ISIS Resolution", EJIL-Talk (EUI, Italy), 2015. Article available here.
BOEGLIN Nicolas, "Contre une invocation abusive de la légitime défense face au terrorisme", DommagesCivils (France), 2016. Article available here.
BOEGLIN Nicolas, "Attentats à Paris: remarques critiques au sujet de la résolution 2249 du Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies", Sentinelle SFDI (France), 2015. Article available here.
BOEGLIN Nicolas, "Francia en guerra: breves apuntes desde la perspectiva del derecho internacional", Revista Pensamiento Penal (Argentina), 2015. Article available here.
CORTEN Olivier, "The fight against ISIS - Official Position of States (January 2014-January 2016)", Paper (2016), 42 pages. Article available here.
CORTEN Olivier, "L’argumentation des Etats européens pour justifier une intervention militaire contre l´"Etat Islamique" en Syrie: vers une reconfiguration de la notion de légitime défense ?", RBDI (Belgium) 2016. Full texte available here.
CORTEN Olivier, "The ‘Unwilling or Unable’ Test: Has it Been, and Could it be, Accepted?", LJIL (The Netherlands), 2016, Article available here.
DE FROUVILLE Olivier, "Frappes en Syrie : quel cadre en droit international ?" TheConversation (France), 2015. Article available here.
LESPERANCE Robert J., "Canada’s Military Operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the Law of Armed Conflict", CIL (Canada), 2014. Article available here.
MARTIN Jean Christophe, "Les frappes de la France contre l’EIIL en Syrie, à la lumière de la résolution 2249 (2015) du Conseil de sécurité", QDI-QIL (Canada), 2016, Article available here.
MILANOVIC Marko, "How the Ambiguity of Resolution 2249 Does Its Work", EJIL-Talk (EUI, Italy), 2015. Article available here.
O'CONNOR Laurie, "Legality of the use of force in Syria against Islamic State and the Khorasan Group", JUFIL (United Kingdom), 2016. Asbtracts of the article and references available here.
WELLER Marc, "Permanent Imminence of Armed Attacks: Resolution 2249 (2015) and the Right to Self Defence Against Designated Terrorist Groups", EJIL-Talk (EUI, Italy), 2015. Article available here
Publicado por Curso de Derecho Internacional. Costa Rica en 10:04